Thursday, December 22, 2011

2012 Arnold List Released

It's OUT!!!! The 2012 Arnold list has just been released. Did you favorites make it on there?

2012 Ms. International (15)
Maria Rita Bello
Brigita Brezovac
Kim Buck
Tina Chandler
Alevtina Goroshinskaya
Monique Jones
Iris Kyle
Debi Laszewski
Cathy LeFrancois
Zoa Lindsey
Geraldine Morgan
Yaxeni Oriquen
Kim Perez
Alina Popa
Maria Segura

2012 Fitness International (17)
Michelle Blank
Jodi Boam
Myriam Capes
Regiane Da Silva
Tina Durkin
Allison Ethier
Adela Garcia
Oksana Grishina
Tanji Johnson
Diana Monteiro
Julie Palmer
Kayde Puckett
Camala Rodriguez
Daniella Ruban
Kizzy Vaines
Sheri Vucick
Bethany Wagner

2012 Figure International (16)
Jelena Abbou
Teresa Anthony
Cheryl Brown
Krissy Chin
Ava Cowan
Heather Dees
Alicia Harris
Raquel Hernandez
Candice Keene
Gloria Keplinger Tarpley
Sue Knott
Larissa Reis
Erin Stern
Gennifer Strobo
Latisha Wilder
Nicole Wilkins

2012 Bikini International (18)
Jennifer Andrews
Jaime Baird
Abbie Burrows
Juliana Daniell
Sonia Gonzales
Candyce Graham
Diana Graham
Jessica Jessie
Lexi Kaufman
Nathalia Melo
Justine Munro
Nicole Nagrani
India Paulino
Jessica Paxson
Natalie Pennington
Monique Ricardo
Tianna Ta
Christine Vargas

There will be more Arnold-related posts as we get closer to the big event. Until then, congrats to everyone that made the list! 2012 we come!! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Exclusive Interview with Cheerleader Anna Watson

College bowls season is upon us, and many teams are getting ready for these special games. One of those teams is the Georgia Bulldogs, who will be playing in the Outback Bowl on January 2, 2012. Toward the end of the season (specifically during the Georgia/Kentucky game), a Georgia Bulldog turned some heads on the internet...but it wasn't a football player. It was a cheerleader by the name of Anna Watson. Her pictures gathered a pretty decent following among female muscle fans, hoping to see more of Anna in the near future. We appreciate Anna for taking time from her busy schedule (she is in college, after all) to do an exclusive interview with us.

Photo credit to the original owner. FitGems does not claim rights to this photo.

FitGems Nation: What is your main profession?
Anna Watson: I am a full time student at the University of Georgia. I also cheer for the dawgs and work at the Ramsey student center in the strength and conditioning department.

FitGems: How did you get into cheerleading?
Anna: I started cheering my sophomore year in high school after ten years of competitive gymnastics. I was burnt out on gymnastics but wanted to continue to tumble, so I decided to try cheerleading. Over the last five years I have learned a great deal about the sport and have a much greater respect for it and the athletes who participate in it.

FitGems: How did you get into the fitness industry in the first place?
Anna: I have always loved keeping myself busy and active, so I guess Ive really been a part of it my whole life! Exercise and the benefits it offers intrigue me and keep me coming back for more!

FitGems: While it seems that many cheerleaders these days wouldn’t be out of place in a fitness show, it seems you are far and away the most muscular female cheerleader that has emerged in quite some time. Do you consider yourself “America’s Fittest Cheerleader”?
Anna: Oh I doubt I am the fittest cheerleader in America, but I may have the biggest biceps among the girls!

FitGems: Photos were posted of you at the Georgia/Kentucky game on November 21, 2011, and in some sites, they were among the most viewed photos in those sites’ history. How do you feel about that?
Anna: I think it is hilarious that those pictures have gotten some attention on several websites. I am honored that people would post my picture on their site and think its exciting!

FitGems: I’m not kidding when I ask you the following question: Has anyone from the Georgia Bulldogs football team encouraged you to join them on the field? You seem like you could hold your own out there! LOL. :)
Anna: No, I have not had any offers! I definitely get some stares on the sidelines though! Maybe if the team hadn’t picked up some steam in the second half of the season, they would have started recruiting cheerleaders!

FitGems: In all seriousness, though, the mainstream public (as a whole) is (unfortunately) very subjective to what they like and don’t like, and one of those things they still can’t accept as of yet happens to be a woman with muscles. How do you deal with criticism from some who think you are too muscular?
Anna: I haven’t really faced too much criticism, but I try not to let it get me down. I love to workout and the muscles that come along! I think that women can be muscular and still feminine. Strong shoulders, buns of steel, and washboard abs are striking attributes that I’m pretty sure any woman wouldn’t mind having! I am confident in who I am and proud of my muscles!

FitGems: Have you competed yet? If so, what organization and division was it in?
Anna: My first show was the NPC Georgia this past July. I competed in the tall figure division.

FitGems: Do you see physique competitions being something you might do in the future?
Anna: I would actually like to get into the fitness side of it. I think my gymnastics and cheer background would allow me to make that transition well.

FitGems: Who are you favorite people in the fitness industry?
Anna: Erin Stern is my favorite figure competitor. I think she has a beautiful physique that is the epitome of femininity and strength.

FitGems: How have you been a positive influence in the University of Georgia?
Anna: I have only been there a short while, but I hope that I have made a positive impact. I consider myself a joyful and considerate person, so I hope that others have noticed and been inspired and encouraged by that.

FitGems: Have you encourage your fellow cheerleaders to follow your lead to living healthier lifestyles?
Anna: I am not sure if they have made any changes, but they have commented on my healthy eating and dedication to working out. I hope that I have influenced them to be healthy and love themselves!

FitGems: What advice do you give to those who want to pursue the fitness industry, especially women who are under the assumption that having muscles is manly (when there’s PLENTY of proof that it isn’t the case)?
Anna: I would encourage others to just be true to themselves. I don’t think that muscles or a great physique define who people are. It is important to know who you are inside and let your light shine wherever you go! Also, make sure that working out and exercise remain something they enjoy and don’t turn into feeling like a job.

FitGems: What are your future plans after college, and will it involved the fitness industry in some way, shape, or form?
Anna: I plan on graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in exercise and sports science and then pursuing a career in the strength and conditioning industry. I would love to train athletes and give them the tools they need to be the best athletes they can be. I also plan on getting certified as a personal trainer.

FitGems: Any final words you want to share to the FitGems audience?
Anna: Keep working hard and remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made! Psalm 139:14 God Bless and happy training!

Again, we thank Anna for doing this interview with us, and we wish her the best of luck as she continues to pursuit her dreams and completes her education. Best of luck to you, Anna!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Big Show Return in 2012...Who Should Be Next? Part 1

I don't know if anyone has noticed this yet, but for the last couple of years, we've seen come big returns to the big stages: The Arnold and Olympia. In 2010, we saw the return of Mia Finnegan at the Fitness Olympia. In 2011, we saw the return of Jennifer Gates at this past Arnold's in the Figure International contest. The Arnold list will be posted very soon (possibly as soon as this week), and I was thinking...who else should make at least one more big show appearance in 2012? Here's a few choices I have (in no particular order) This will be done in a 3-part series, beginning with fitness. (There's a very good chance the Arnold list will be out before this series of post is completed, so keep that in mind.)

1. Tracey Greenwood

Tracey Greenwood is among the best competitors to never have won the Fitness International or Fitness Olympia title. During her time in fitness, she wowed the crowd with her routines and one of the best physiques to ever step on stage. Many people (including yours truly) were sad to hear of her retirement, as we all felt she could have been a great Fitness International and/or Fitness Olympia champion. It would be cool to see her on a Arnold and/or Olympia stage once again.

2. Susie Curry

Talk about leaving a mark on the scene! Before Adela became the queen of fitness, Susie Curry was the undisputed leader of the division, taking on all-comers with her trademark routines and compact physique. Very few have her impressive resume, with 4 Fitness International titles and 4 Fitness Olympia titles. There would be no doubt in my mind that should Susie ever come out of retirement, she could put herself right in the thick of things with Adela, Tanji, Myriam, and others and be right in the hunt for another Arnold or Olympia title.

3. Kim Scheideler

While some of you might not be TOO familiar with that name, you might be familiar with the name Kim Klein. Kim possessed a lower body that would make some BODYBUILDERS envious, that's how nicely developed it was. her entire physique was no weak sauce, believe you and me, but it was her legs that were the standout point throughout her career. Her routines were very enjoyable as well. She did win two Fitness International titles, and was close to winning a Fitness Olympia title. I think she could make another big show appearance down the road.

4. Julie Childs

In 2007, Julie Childs was hitting her stride as a fitness competitor, bringing her physique and routines to an all time best. She disappeared from the scene after the 2007 Olympia, and we haven't heard much from her since. She competed in the Arnold and Olympia a few times and placed relatively well each time, although there are some that feel she could have placed a bit higher. She came from the Fitness America organization and became a IFBB legend. It wouldn't be hard for her to make a return to fitness competition, especially on a stage like the Arnold or Olympia.

5. Jenny Worth

In 2011, she made her return to the stage via guest appearances. From what I've heard from many people, she has not lost a step in her routines. She can still go with the best of them. Physique-wise, she looks like she could just about hang with the best of them as well. During her prime, she was no stranger to the big dance, competing at the Arnold and Olympia and winning a Fitness International title and was VERY close to winning the Fitness Olympia title. Jenny has mentioned that she may very well return to competition one day. Could 2012 be the year she makes her return? And if so, would be it awesome to see it on the Arnold and/or Olympia stage?

That's Part 1 of the three-part series. Part 2 will focus on figure competitors, and part 3 will focus on female bodybuilders. I'm aware there are PLENTY more that could be on this list, but I decided to narrow the list down to five for each series. Let me know who I left out via a comment below or sending me a tweet @FitGemsNation, and your comments could be on a future follow-up post.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

WWE Diva Eve Torres's Stairway to Heaven(ly) Body Workout

WWE Superstars and Divas are known to have some of the most amazing bodies in entertainment, but there are those select few that love to take their physiques to the next level. One of those happens to be WWE Diva Eve Torres. Currently, she's partnered with Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox as part of the "models" group of Divas going against the "wrestler" Divas Natalya and WWE Divas Champion Beth Phoenix, aka The Divas of Doom. The D.O.D. think the "models" are a joke to the Divas division and need to be out of WWE. Well...tell me, do you see ANYTHING Barbie doll or model about THIS workout? I DON'T THINK SO!

Whew!! I'm tired just WATCHING that!

Eve is known as one of WWE's top fitness fanatics, and this video proves why. She finds a way to make her workouts interesting and challenging, never doing the same thing twice, and as someone who has seen her on TV ever since her debut, in addition to seeing her in person during Wrestlemania 27 and a few WWE shows, the workouts have paid off. We at FitGems hope to see more videos from Eve in the near future and wish her all the best of luck in her persuit in fitness and in WWE. Yes, Eve, the FitGems Nation definitely beliEVEs in you!

For more on Eve, visit her website at, follow her on Twitter @EveMarieTorres, and like her on Facebook at

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sharing a TenSpot...with Gail Auerbach

Gail Auerbach is part of the top muscle sites out there today, RxMuscle. She is the editor-in-chief of their female portion of the site, RxGirl, where she's known as "The Prodigy" Not only does she head up RxGirl, she's a NPC Middleweight Bodybuilder as well. Gail was gracious enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to conduct an interview with us.

Photo credit goes to Gail herself.

FitGems Nation: Let’s kick this off by telling us a bit about yourself.
Gail Auerbach: I live in Chi town and work as a first grade teacher. I have a whole ton of degrees in education and the love of my life is special education. Having a whole slew of disabilities myself these are the students I can relate well to. I am close with my family(especially my lil niece) and a core group of friends. I am pretty determined, a hard worker and will do anything to accomplish my goals.

FitGems: When did you first start competing?
Gail: My first local show was in 2007, which was when I first started lifting weights.

FitGems: What is your strategy when you head to the gym? Is it mostly weight-training, mostly cardio, a balanced mixture of the two, or something else?
Gail: This depends on whether I am dieting for a show or in my offseason. I usually will do AM fasted cardio and weight train in the evenings. Unless I am in prep and then I do cardio a few times a day!

FitGems: At first glance, has anyone mistaken you for being in something OTHER than physique competitions (MMA fighter, boxer, pro wrestler, track and field runner, softball player, etc?)
Gail: Nope, I think looking at me it is pretty obvious!

FitGems: With women’s physique and bikini now part of the NPC and IFBB, do you feel that there’s now a division for every female who wants to compete?
Gail: Absolutely! Which makes it better for all involved. I just don't want to see female bodybuilding disappear so I am hoping it continues in some fashion!

FitGems: In addition to competing, you are the head person of RxGirl (a part of RxMuscle). How did that come about?
Gail: I am extremely passionate about my job at RX Girl. I am blessed to be able to get to know so many wonderful female athletes and promote them on so many levels. When I got my minor in undergrad in PR, I really thought I would never use it, being a teacher, but I didn't want to graduate and leave college so I decided to get it. It's funny 11 years later to actually be using it! I kept nagging my diet guru, Dave Palumbo about wanting to "give back" and do more for the industry, but being a full time career driven teacher, I just didn't know how. He let me help behind the scenes at RX Muscle a bit and as the site started to grow he offered me the position. I was SO excited, I didn't sleep for a week! Now it is a dream to work with and for him and share the same vision and goals for the site. I encourage any women who may be reading this to contact me for promotional opportunities.

FitGems: Who in the fitness industry has been your biggest inspiration?
Gail: My boss, friend and diet guru Dave Palumbo, who has been my leading inspiration in life and enlightened me in numerous ways. Michael Liberatore who has been training me for years and never stops challenging and believing in me. All the middleweight female bodybuilders who graced the stage before me. I looked up to them!

FitGems: If you weren’t a part of the female physique world whatsoever, what would you be doing right now as your profession?
Gail: Exactly what I am doing...teaching little kids and loving it each and every day! (except when they bring their germs to school and get me sick! lol!)

FitGems: What (if anything) would you change about any of the IFBB female divisions?
Gail: I wouldn't change anything! Really!

FitGems: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to compete?
Gail: Make it your own journey and about you. Don't worry who else is on the stage or what other people say or look like. Find your support system who will be there for you and continue to push toward your own goals.

If you want to contact Gail, you can email her at You can also "like" her on  Facebook at

Thursday, December 1, 2011

3rd Annual FitGems Awards: And the Nominees Are...

Thank you to everyone that nominated their favorites for the 3rd Annual FitGems Awards! Without further ado, here are the nominees:


Pro Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Iris Kyle
Yaxeni Oriquen
Brigita Brezovac
Debi Laszewski
Alina Popa
Isabelle Turell

Pro Figure Competitor of the Year

Nicole Wilkins
Ava Cowan
Erin Stern
Kat Rameriz
Candice Keene
Ann Titone

Pro Fitness Competitor of the Year

Adela Garcia
Tanji Johnson
Nicole Duncan
Michelle Blank
Tina Durkin
Stacy Wright

Pro Bikini Competitor of the Year

Nicole Nagrani
Sonia Gonzales
Amanda Latona
Jamie Baird
Nathalia Melo
Vanessa Campbell

Amateur Female Bodybuilder of the Year

Michelle Brent
Amanda Alger
Kira Neuman
Kimmie Morgan
Judy Gallard
Cynthia Colon

Amateur Figure Competitor of the Year

Wendy Fortino
Allison Moyer
Joni Neilson
Allison Frahn
Shelly Albetta
Cheryl Davis

Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Year
Amanda Hatfield
Lisha Dean
Meredith Miller
Sheri Vucick
Whitney Jones
Viko Newman

Amateur Bikini Competitor of the Year

Diana Graham
Candace Grayam
India Paulino
Noe Alexander
Skye Taylor
Jennifer Rankin

Amateur Physique Competitor of the Year
Jill Rudison
Jillian Reville
Rachel Baker
Tracy Bodner
Susie Fuller Torres
Dana Bailey

International Female Bodybuilder of the Year (Pro or Amateur)
Brigita Brezovac
Debi Laszewski
Alina Popa
Yaxeni Oriquen
Maria Rite Bello
Dayana Cadeau

International Fitness Competitor of the Year (Pro or Amateur)

Myriam Capes
Jodi Boam
Regaine De Silva
Mindi O’Brian
Oksana Grishina
Minna Pajulahti

International Figure Competitor of the Year (Pro or Amateur)
Larissa Reis
Rachelle Chase
Tracey MacDonald
Emily Stirling
Rosa Marie Romero
Candice John

International Bikini Competitor of the Year (Pro or Amateur)
Nathalia Melo
Jelena Abbou
Dina Al-Sabah
Justine Monro
Noemi Olah
Willeke Verhaar-Davis

Breakout Pro Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Monique Jones
Brigita Brezovac
Alina Popa
Sarah Hayes
Claire O’Connell
Angela Salvagno

Breakout Pro Figure Competitor of the Year
Sabrina Taylor
Candice Keene
Ava Cowan
Ann Titone
Teresa Anthony
Alicia Harris

Breakout Pro Fitness Competitor of the Year
Michelle Blank
Jodi Boam
Camala Rodriguez
Nicole Duncan
Myriam Capes
Stacy Wright

Breakout Pro Bikini Competitor of the Year
Christina Vargas
Diana Graham
Nathalia Melo
Vanessa Campbell
Jennifer Andrews
Jamie Baird

Breakout Amateur Female Bodybuilder of the Year
Michelle Cummings
Amanda Alger
Cynthia Colon
Pat Wentz
Pam Franklin
Judy Gallard

Breakout Amateur Figure Competitor of the Year
Tracey MacDonald
Yolanda Alvarado
Sue Knott
Essence Moneti
Laura Bailey
Wendy Fortino

Breakout Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Year
Amanda Hatfield
Paula Williams-Guliman
Sheri Vucick
Regan Grossman
Meredith Miller
Cicely Kyle

Breakout Amateur Bikini Competitor of the Year
Sherrie Carnicle
Candyce Graham
Diana Graham
India Paulino
Noy Alexander
Rebecca Staggs

Breakout Amateur Physique Competitor of the Year

Rachel Baker
Nikki Warner
Tracy Bodner
Cheryl Cooke
Dana Bailey
Jennifer Robinson

Inspirational Competitor of the Year
Mah Ann Mendoza
Tanji Johnson
Mikalia Soto
Jennifer Gates
Mandy Henderson
Ann Titone

Comeback of the Year
Mah Ann Mendoza
Amanda Hatfield
Helle Neilson
Mindi O’Brien
Dorit Silverman
Jennifer Gates

Competitor Who You Would Love to See Return To the Stage in 2012

Valerie Waugaman
Christine Pomponio-Pate
Jenny Lynn
Heidi Sullivan
Lenda Murray

Fitness Personality of the Year (Model/Trainer/Spokesperson)
Brittany Beede
Jillian Michaels
Jennifer Nicole Lee
Aubrie Richeson
Jamie Eason

Moment of the Year
Jr. Nationals 2011, where every figure class winner was of color (first in NPC history)
First-ever IFBB event in India (Sheru Classic)
First-ever Arnold Class Europe Fitness
Mindi O’Brien announcing retirement from fitness
Dayana Cadeau and Mah Ann Mendoza announcing their retirements from female bodybuilding at the Olympia
Nicole Nagrani winning the first-ever Bikini International  

MISC. Categories 

NPC Show of the Year
Jr. Nationals
Jr. USAs
Team Universe
North Americans

IFBB Show of the Year
Ft. Lauderdale Pro
St. Louis Pro
Toronto Pro Supershow
Sheru Classic

WBFF Show of the Year
New England
Eastern US

Promoter(s) of the Year
Jack and Ann Titone
Stryker X
Ed & Betty Pariso
Tim Gardner
Jon Lindsay
Brent Jones

Organization of the Year
Fitness America/Universe

Female Physique Site of the Year (non-competitor) (NOTE: FitGems is NOT eligible due the fact that FitGems is running the contest)
Promoting Real Women
Hardbody News
Rx Girl
Fitness Rx
Fit Model TV

Female Competitor Blog of the Year
Ashley Cooper (
Mindi O’Brien (
Stacy Wright (
Ester Alexander (
Nikki Roxx (
Cindy Phillips (

Facebook Female Fan Page of the Year

Brittany Beede
Ava Cowan
Monica Brant Fan Page
Danny-J and Aubrie Richeson the Sweaty Betties
Tracy Bodner
Tonya Burkhardt-IFBB Fitness Pro

Photographer of the Year

Marc Thyssen
Bill Comstock
Dan Ray
Isaac Hinds
Jeff Binns
Mike Eckstut

Blogger of the Year
Jason Adams
Isaac Hinds
Dean Sucich
Carl Burkins (dallas3)
Area Orion

Industry Blog of the Year (by a fan, industry member, company, etc.)
Promoting Real Women (
Hardbody News (
KrivStudios Blog (
Fit Model TV (
Area Orion (
Female Muscle Universe (

Industry Facebook Fan Page of the Year
Fit Model TV
Promoting Women in Bodybuilding Fitness and MMA
Hardbody News
No Division Left Behind; Women’s Bodybuilding
Marc Thyssen Photography

Female Celebrity Muscle of the Year

Elizabeth Hasslebeck
Kelly Ripa
Hope Solo
Poppy Montgomery
Celeste Bonin (WWE’s Kaitlyn)
Trish Stratus

Physique Paysite of the Year
HerBiceps (
HDPhysiques (
KrivsStudio (
Female-Power (
Awefilms (
Femflex (

Male Supporter of the Year
Jason Lannigan (Sioux)
Jason Adams
Curt James
Jack Titone
Carl Burkins (dallas3)
Isaac Hinds

Female Website Site of the Year
Mandy Henderson (
Stephanie Wilkes (
Ann Titone (
Brittany Beede (
Monica Escalante (
Tanji Johnson (

Supplement Company of the Year
Gaspari Nutrition
Top Secret Nutrition
MAN Sports
Optimum Nutrition

Team of the Year
Team Bombshell
Total Package
Team Brownie
Tanji Johnson’s Save Fitness
Team O’Brien
Oddo's Angels

Trainer of the Year
Jack Titone
Kim Oddo
Noel Fuller
Shannon Dey
Mindi O'Brien
Erik Ledin

To vote for your favorites:

1. Email your votes at (Put 2011 FitGems Awards in the subject line) YOU CAN VOTE ONCE PER DAY PER EMAIL. No daily mutiple emails will be accepted. Those will be thrown out.
2. If you have Twitter, you can tweet your votes to and use the hashtag #2011FitGemsAwards. Remember, if you do this, state the category as well as your choice for that particular category. YOU CAN DO THIS AS MUCH AS YOU CAN...JUST MAKE SURE YOU DON'T GO TO TWITTER JAIL! LOL...
3. If you're a member of the following sites, you can send me your votes via private message:
  • Siouxcountry (under cray17)
  • RxMuscle (under FitGems)
  • FTVideo (under cray2005)
  • Unreal Muscle (under FitGems)
  • Muscular Development (under cray17)
4. You can vote on our online poll at Vote as many times as you can here!

Do you have to vote for ALL the categories?! NO, however...It would be nice if you could, though. To the nominees: let your fans know that you are nominated for awards and get them to vote for you! All voting stops when the ball drops in New York (which means Midnight/11 Central). In other words, when New York City rings in 2012, no more votes will be accepted. Winners will be announced in mid-January.